Walter Bellin has published a book on leadership and personal development. It is called ‘Climb a Different Ladder: Self Awareness, Mindfulness and Successful Leadership’. The book is based on the premise that certain human character traits – as distinct from leadership skills – are the foundation of great leadership. Of course, leadership skills are important – but the way you use those skills, and the purpose you use them for is determined by the human character traits that define who you are as an individual person, your self or identity. And it is this that determines the quality of your leadership and the kinds of outcomes you achieve.
As we pursue advancement in our profession or career, metaphorically we must mount a professional, corporate or organisational ladder – and in doing so we increasingly play a leadership role. This is an external ladder defined by the roles we play. The tacit assumption by most of us is the further up this ladder we climb, the happier or more fulfilled we will be. This is simply false for many leaders have reached the top rung and are not happy or fulfilled – or if they are, it is not because they are at the top rung of this external ladder.
Great leadership that leads to deep and lasting fulfilment is reached by climbing a different kind of ladder within ourselves – one quite distinct from the external ladder leading to our success. This internal ladder is one of personal development where each rung involves the development of human character traits that increasingly result in greater leadership and deeper, more lasting fulfilment. And the key to this process of personal character developing is raising our level of awareness – especially the depth and accuracy of our self awareness– through practicing the art of mindfulness.
The cultivation of mindfulness is a psychological journey in learning to be fully present in the moment, to be open, accepting and non-judgemental in the way we perceive ourselves, others and our world. This empowers us to change our ways of thinking, our emotional responses and our behavioural habits, leading to both greater personal success and fulfilment and a greater contribution to others and to the common good. This book shows you how to navigate this journey or personal and leadership development through telling the stories of a number of people who have done so successfully – though they could never have known at the beginning that this journey would work for them.